Am absolutely devastated. On Saturday p.m, Tinkerbell, one of the orphaned pups I’ve been raising since June and who was so close to release, had to be pts. Both she and Little Amal, from the same roost, were living in the bat flight, and early on Saturday evening, Tinkerbell sadly fell from their bat box as I opened the door to feed them both. I think she must have been sleeping on the inside of the bat box door close to the bat box floor, and fell as I opened it. She just dropped like a stone before I’d even opened the door completely. My poor little girl hit the wooden floor with a thump and sustained a broken wrist, and I knew she would never fly again … it was the saddest thing ever to have to do.
I am gutted that I couldn’t save her, and I am now looking for outdoor, soft, waterproof flooring. It means extra costs on top of the flight costs already incurred, but I never want this to happen again. I’ve been bat caring for 15+yrs, and this has never happened before – such a tragic and awful accident.
When bats have shown me that they can fly inside the puppy playpen, and later on can fly proficiently in the mesh tent; I often spread a counterpane across the wooden bat flight floor for their first practice flight – just to be on the safe side. By the time they progress to flying in the flight the counterpane isn’t necessary though, and thankfully a bat has never dropped from a bat box before.
Am now struggling to find something that is soft to land on and also weather-resistant, and any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Update: After the accident, I considered absolutely every alternative – anything but plastic grass – I hate the stuff, and the fact that people purchase plastic hedgerows, or grass; covering precious soil, and replacing their natural gardens. My only consolation is that I’m not doing that… and I couldn’t have tried harder to find an alternative.
I investigated growing moss but at £100+ per sq.m it was a no-no, and of course, it needs a soil base. I ordered many samples of supposedly weatherproof floor coverings including jute and coir fibre products. I investigated sand, turf, bark mulch… anything to avoid purchasing plastic. The only product acceptable was a beautifully made-to-measure, outdoor coir fibre carpet… but at £600+ we just couldn’t afford it.
It’s been a struggle and taken 3 – 4 weeks to finally find something that appears fit for purpose and within our price range. Am not sure how long it will last but I now have a floor covering using two products. I initially purchased a 100% biodegradable, coir fibre matting, ethically produced and sourced – the rain drained through it, which was great, but unfortunately, the gaps in the weave were large enough for a bat to tuck under. I needed something to sit on top of this, and having exhausted every other possibility, I conceded. My earlier investigations had led me to a thin green outdoor carpet, with drainage; softer than plastic grass, at £40+ and this is what we now have. It sits on top of my biodegradable coir fibre base and the two together provide my little bats, should they ever fall again, with a soft cushioned surface…. that can also cope with heavy rainfall.
These together would have saved dear Tinkerbell had she landed on it all those weeks ago, and am so sad that this was not here to break her fall. :'( xx I am still absolutely heartbroken. xx